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An impressive group of design and business experts convened in London last week as advisory board to Design London, the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London’s joint education and innovation venture.

The board includes James Dyson the British entrepreneur, who is its chairman, Stefano Marzano, CEO of Philips Design and Andrew Hargadon formerly of Apple. It met to develop and agree a programme for the next five years.

Design London was launched in 2007 with £5.8 million in funding and the goal of encouraging integrated teaching and research in the areas of product and service development and design. The project is therefore an interdisciplinary effort: Imperial’s engineering department, its Tanaka Business School and the RCA are involved.

The educational ambitions of the project are impressive. Design and innovation will become core modules this year for students doing an MBA at Imperial. Fellowships will also be on offer to help RCA and engineering graduates learn business skills. In the medium term, it hopes to offer new teaching programmes from January 2009, to 70 students initially and projects enrolments of 300 two years later.

At the same time, interdisciplinary research is not being neglected. An ‘incubator’ is being set up and new business ideas will be tested in it as of next month.

Sir James said. “The Royal College of Art, Imperial College’s Faculty of Engineering and its Tanaka Business School are three wonderful institutions working on an area vital to our country’s economic success. Design London will improve the integration of engineering, design technology and business. It’s exciting, it’s educational and I’m pleased to be involved.”

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